Genre: Gothic

Waiting on Wednesday – The Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr

August 22, 2018 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Lost History of Dreams by Kris WaldherrThe Lost History of Dreams by Kris Waldherr
Published by Touchstone on April 9, 2019
Pages: 288
Genres: Gothic
Format: Hardcover
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A post-mortem photographer unearths dark secrets of the past that may hold the key to his future, in this captivating debut novel in the gothic tradition of Wuthering Heights and The Thirteenth Tale.

All love stories are ghost stories in disguise.

When famed Byronesque poet Hugh de Bonne is discovered dead of a heart attack in his bath one morning, his cousin Robert Highstead, a historian turned post-mortem photographer, is charged with a simple task: transport Hugh’s remains for burial in a chapel. This chapel, a stained glass folly set on the moors of Shropshire, was built by de Bonne sixteen years earlier to house the remains of his beloved wife and muse, Ada. Since then, the chapel has been locked and abandoned, a pilgrimage site for the rabid fans of de Bonne’s last book, The Lost History of Dreams.

However, Ada’s grief-stricken niece refuses to open the glass chapel for Robert unless he agrees to her bargain: before he can lay Hugh to rest, Robert must record Isabelle’s story of Ada and Hugh’s ill-fated marriage over the course of five nights.

As the mystery of Ada and Hugh’s relationship unfolds, so does the secret behind Robert’s own marriage—including that of his fragile wife, Sida, who has not been the same since the tragic accident three years ago, and the origins of his own morbid profession that has him seeing things he shouldn’t—things from beyond the grave.

Kris Waldherr effortlessly spins a sweeping and atmospheric gothic mystery about love and loss that blurs the line between the past and the present, truth and fiction, and ultimately, life and death.

About Kris Waldherr

Kris Waldherr is an award-winning author and illustrator whose books for adults and children include Bad PrincessDoomed Queens, and The Book of Goddesses. The New Yorker praised Doomed Queens as “utterly satisfying” and “deliciously perverse.” The Book of Goddesses was a One Spirit/Book-of-the-Month Club’s Top Ten Most Popular Book. Her picture book Persephone and the Pomegranate was noted by the New York Times Book Review for its “quality of myth and magic.” Waldherr is also the creator of the Goddess Tarot, which has a quarter of a million copies in print. Her debut novel The Lost History of Dreams will be published by Touchstone Books in early 2019.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday?

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Book Review – A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis

November 20, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Read in 2015, YA 4 Comments

I received this book free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – A Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnisA Madness So Discreet by Mindy McGinnis
Published by Katherine Tegen Books on October 6th 2015
Pages: 384
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction, Mental Health
Format: eARC
Source: Edelweiss
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Also by this author: Not a Drop to Drink

two-stars

Grace Mae knows madness.

She keeps it locked away, along with her voice, trapped deep inside a brilliant mind that cannot forget horrific family secrets. Those secrets, along with the bulge in her belly, land her in a Boston insane asylum.

When her voice returns in a burst of violence, Grace is banished to the dark cellars, where her mind is discovered by a visiting doctor who dabbles in the new study of criminal psychology. With her keen eyes and sharp memory, Grace will make the perfect assistant at crime scenes. Escaping from Boston to the safety of an ethical Ohio asylum, Grace finds friendship and hope, hints of a life she should have had. But gruesome nights bring Grace and the doctor into the circle of a killer who stalks young women. Grace, continuing to operate under the cloak of madness, must hunt a murderer while she confronts the demons in her own past.

In this beautifully twisted historical thriller, Mindy McGinnis, acclaimed author of Not a Drop to Drink and In a Handful of Dust, explores the fine line between sanity and insanity, good and evil—and the madness that exists in all of us.


‘They all had their terrors, but at least the spiders that lived in the new girl’s veins were imaginary. Grace has learned long ago that the true horrors of this world were other people.’

A Madness So Discreet introduces Grace Mae, a young woman who has been placed in an asylum in an attempt to hide her out of wedlock pregnancy in addition to the horrible secret to how she came to be pregnant in the first place. She is certainly of sound mind, however, the long nights spent listening to the screams of patients echoing the corridors is enough to effect even the toughest of individuals. When an opportunity to leave the asylum is presented to her she jumps at the opportunity for a fresh start, but Grace soon finds that sometimes your past finds a way to sneak up on you.

The beginning is one of the most shocking and audacious introductions I have come across in YA. We’re introduced to Grace and the patients in the Wayburne Lunatic Asylum of Boston and a terrifying picture is quickly painted. This is set in the 19th century and patients are not treated as people, they are not given sufficient food or clothing, and they are thrown into the basement cells which leak rainwater from outside as a form of punishment. There are other far worse punishments described as well. It was grisly and utterly distressing but considering grisly and distressing are totally my thing, I was immediately foreseeing a first-rate reading experience. Alas, the book took an odd turn after that.

‘They work their discreet types of madness on us, power and pain, and we hold on to our truths in the darkness.’

Going from a decidedly Gothic feel and leaving the confines of the asylum, it quickly transforms into a something of a crime thriller, just minus the thrill. Grace is placed in the care of Dr. Thornhollow after he takes a keen interest in her sharp mind and believes she can be of assistance to him. Why he goes to such dramatic lengths to get her out of the asylum is beyond me though. See, Dr. Thornhollow believes himself to be Sherlock in his spare time, investigating crimes and catching killers. Towards the end we once again take an odd turn and it quickly becomes an episode of Law & Order.

Referencing a book as having a Gothic feel, set in an asylum with crime and legal aspects should have been a home-run for me and I can’t decide whether all aspects combined were simply too much or it was simply too far-fetched for it to feel any way authentic. I would have much preferred Grace’s story to play out within the asylum walls, wrestling her inner-demons.

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Book Review – The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue

July 17, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2015 3 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – The Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith DonohueThe Boy Who Drew Monsters by Keith Donohue
Published by Picador on October 7th 2014
Pages: 288
Genres: Gothic, Horror
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
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three-half-stars

From the New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child comes a hypnotic literary horror novel about a young boy trapped inside his own world, whose drawings blur the lines between fantasy and reality.

Ever since he nearly drowned in the ocean three years earlier, ten-year-old Jack Peter Keenan has been deathly afraid to venture outdoors. Refusing to leave his home in a small coastal town in Maine, Jack Peter spends his time drawing monsters. When those drawings take on a life of their own, no one is safe from the terror they inspire. His mother, Holly, begins to hear strange sounds in the night coming from the ocean, and she seeks answers from the local Catholic priest and his Japanese housekeeper, who fill her head with stories of shipwrecks and ghosts. His father, Tim, wanders the beach, frantically searching for a strange apparition running wild in the dunes. And the boy’s only friend, Nick, becomes helplessly entangled in the eerie power of the drawings. While those around Jack Peter are haunted by what they think they see, only he knows the truth behind the frightful occurrences as the outside world encroaches upon them all.

In the tradition of The Turn of the Screw, Keith Donohue’s The Boy Who Drew Monsters is a mesmerizing tale of psychological terror and imagination run wild, a perfectly creepy read for a dark night.


“In the dream house, the boy listened for the monster under his bed.”

Jack Peter hasn’t been the same since he almost drowned when he was seven-years-old. Becoming terrified of the world outside, he’s become something of a recluse for the past three years and his parents, and even doctors, have been struggling to find a reason. When the terrifying things that Jack claims to see become visible to his parents, they begin to think they’re going insane rather than realizing that maybe what their son has been saying isn’t exactly a lie. Is there something supernatural astir or is everyone, in fact, going insane?

The slow, subtle build leaves the reader in a constant state of anxiety, unable to differentiate between reality and madness. While not exactly terrifying, despite the depictions of a pale white creature which roams the lands around their home and of the babies that defy gravity by crawling across the walls, this story still manages to leave a slight restlessness in its implications. A comparison to A Turn of the Screw is expected, what with the creepy children and of the general gothic-like atmosphere of panic and terror. Donohue applies an inspirational twist to this tale by granting power behind the monsters to a child. What would cause a child to want to create terrifying monsters in reality? Does he have the power to control their actions or only their existence? And does their existence serve a purpose?

One aspect that could have been dealt with better were the adults. Their continued ignorance of the wrongness of the occurrences is typical yet tiresome. Failing to believe in their young sons seemingly fictitious stories is one thing but it’s a problem when you’re seeing said stories with your own eyes and are still acting oblivious. I would have preferred this story told entirely from the point of view of the children, since their perspective of what was happening left you feeling like a child once again, terrified of the monster under the bed.

Not terrifying, yet still memorable. Donohue impressed me with his prose and capability of maintaining a mysterious edginess. I will definitely be seeking out his earlier works.

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Classic Curiosity – The Turn of the Screw by Henry James

June 27, 2015 Bonnie Book Reviews, Classic Curiosity, Read in 2015 4 Comments

Classic Curiosity – The Turn of the Screw by Henry JamesThe Turn of the Screw by Henry James
Published by Penguin Classics on October 13th 1898
Pages: 96
Genres: Classics, Ghosties, Gothic, Horror
Format: eBook
Source: Freebie
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three-stars

A chilling ghost story, wrought with tantalising ambiguity, Henry James's The Turn of the Screw is edited with an introduction and notes by David Bromwich in Penguin Classics. In what Henry James called a 'trap for the unwary', The Turn of the Screw tells of a nameless young governess sent to a country house to take charge of two orphans, Miles and Flora. Unsettled by a dark foreboding of menace within the house, she soon comes to believe that something malevolent is stalking the children in her care. But is the threat to her young charges really a malign and ghostly presence or something else entirely? The Turn of the Screw is James's great masterpiece of haunting atmosphere and unbearable tension and has influenced subsequent ghost stories and films such as The Innocents, starring Deborah Kerr, and The Others, starring Nicole Kidman.


“No, no—there are depths, depths! The more I go over it, the more I see in it, and the more I see in it, the more I fear. I don’t know what I don’t see—what I don’t fear!”

Being a fan of horror novels and especially ghost stories, I’ve been eager to make my way to more of the classics so as to see for myself where horror originated. The Turn of the Screw is one those, featuring two children who appear to be consorting with ghosts and a governess who’s sole purpose in life has become to save the children from these evil spiritual entities. Intriguing, but the incredible dense writing really killed this for me despite its short length.

“Here at present I felt afresh—for I had felt it again and again—how my equilibrium depended on the success of my rigid will, the will to shut my eyes as tight as possible to the truth that what I had to deal with was, revoltingly, against nature. I could only get on at all by taking “nature” into my confidence and my account, by treating my monstrous ordeal as a push in a direction unusual, of course, and unpleasant, but demanding, after all, for a fair front, only another turn of the screw of ordinary human virtue.”

Interestingly enough though, upon reflection, I realized that it’s more impressive novel than I originally thought. The story is less straightforward than it would appear, where the children may or may not be seeing ghosts and the governess may or may not be going mad. Were the children lying all along about not being able to see the ghosts? If they were, did that in effect push the governess over the edge, believing herself to be seeing something and then being told that no one else sees it but her? That would be enough to twist anyone’s mind. But if the children were being honest all along, the governess was, in fact, the only horror the children were witnessing.

“I was a screen– I was their protector. The more I saw, the less they would.”

Considering that our narrator is, in fact, the governess, working with an unreliable narrator leaves the reader in charge of separating fact from fiction. And James’ continued ambiguity to the very end of this short tale subsequently leaves it up to the reader to decide what was truly happening all along. I’m a bit on the fence myself, believing that both circumstances are believably terrifying and equally likely.

classic curiosity

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Book Review – When We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord

April 23, 2015 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2015 4 Comments

I received this book free from a Giveaway in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review – When We Were Animals by Joshua GaylordWhen We Were Animals by Joshua Gaylord
Published by Mulholland Books on April 21st 2015
Pages: 336
Genres: Coming-of-Age, Gothic, Horror
Format: ARC
Source: a Giveaway
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four-stars

A small, quiet Midwestern town, which is unremarkable save for one fact: when the teenagers reach a certain age, they run wild.

When Lumen Fowler looks back on her childhood, she wouldn't have guessed she would become a kind suburban wife, a devoted mother. In fact, she never thought she would escape her small and peculiar hometown. When We Were Animals is Lumen's confessional: as a well-behaved and over-achieving teenager, she fell beneath the sway of her community's darkest, strangest secret. For one year, beginning at puberty, every resident "breaches" during the full moon. On these nights, adolescents run wild, destroying everything in their path.

Lumen resists. Promising her father she will never breach, she investigates the mystery of her community's traditions and the stories erased from the town record. But the more we learn about the town's past, the more we realize that Lumen's memories are harboring secrets of their own.

A gothic coming-of-age tale for modern times, When We Were Animals is a dark, provocative journey into the American heartland.


‘We live our lives by measures of weeks, months, years, but the creatures we truly are, those are exposed in fractions of moments.’

Lumen Fowler recounts her childhood growing up in a small town in the Midwest that is anything but ordinary. Children in this town, once they hit puberty, they go through what is called “breaching” where they let go of all social constraints and literally run wild and naked in the streets at night when the moon is full. Lumen is a bit of a late bloomer and believes herself to be different from the other children until she inevitably succumbs with the need to feel the night air on her skin.

First and foremost, this is not a werewolf story despite how the summary seems to allude to it. There is no physical transformation that these children undergo, only a surrendering to the madness that we’ve all felt stirring inside us at one time or another. The fact that this all occurs beneath the light of the full moon seems to be pure happenstance. When We Were Animals brought to life the horrors of coming of age and learning to navigate the trickiness betwixt childhood and adulthood.

‘…she was some nightmarish inversion of the person who had played in the sprinklers with me years before. This girl was raw, viperous, glutted on nature and night. They all were. Like coyotes, they made mockery, with their bleating voices, of those who needed light in order to feel safe.
And yet they were all too human.’

This was one of the most exquisitely written books I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading. Vibrant and completely full of (animalistic) life. It’s not a traditional horror story, however, it is a very simplistic horror that we’ve all suffered through in life. It details a savageness; a rawness. It was incredible. The plot itself is quite meandering, just as growing up seems to take forever to get through. Also, like a typical teenager that can’t wait to grow up and for life to finally happen (of which it never seems to meet your expectations), this story never amounted to anything. I kept anticipating something monumental that never came. Still, this story of growing up is well worth the effort.

‘In the daylight you scoff at the shadows you cowered from the night before.’

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Waiting on Wednesday – The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin #2) by Lindsey Barraclough

March 18, 2015 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 6 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin #2) by Lindsey BarracloughThe Mark of Cain by Lindsey Barraclough
Series: Long Lankin #2
Published by Candlewick Press on September 22nd 2015
Pages: 496
Genres: Gothic, Horror
Format: Hardcover
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Also by this author: Long Lankin, The Mark of Cain

A spine-chilling companion to Long Lankin, here is the story of a wronged witch’s revenge, spanning generations and crossing the shadowy line between life and death.

In 1567, baby Aphra is found among the reeds and rushes by two outcast witches. Even as an infant, her gifts in the dark craft are clear. But when her guardians succumb to an angry mob, Aphra is left to fend for herself. She is shunned and feared by all but one man, the leper known as Long Lankin. Hounded and ostracized, the two find solace only in each other, but even this respite is doomed, and Aphra’s bitterness poisons her entire being. Afflicted with leprosy, tortured and about to be burned as a witch, she manages one final enchantment—a curse on her tormentor’s heirs. Now, in 1962, Cora and Mimi, the last of a cursed line, are trapped in an ancient home on a crumbling estate in deepest winter, menaced by a spirit bent on revenge. Are their lives and souls forfeit forever?

About Lindsey Barraclough

Lindsey Barraclough was born in Essex. She worked as a music teacher and lives in London with her husband and their five children. Her debut novel, Long Lankin, was published in 2011 to critical acclaim and was shortlisted for the Branford Boase Award, the UKLA Children’s Book Award, the We Read Prize and the Southern Schools Award, and longlisted for the Carnegie Medal and the Waterstones Book Prize. It was also named one of the best 100 YA novels by the American Young Adult Library Services Association.

You guys remember this??

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Long Lankin (Long Lankin #1) by Lindsey Barraclough {PurchaseMy Review}

If not, fix that. If you do, how exciting right?!?! I’ve been stalking watching this authors Goodreads page since I finished Long Lankin hoping and wishing for more books from her. And not only is it more but it’s a companion novel too. Cannot wait.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Ominous October – The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero

October 4, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Ominous October, Read in 2014 2 Comments

I received this book free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ominous October – The Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar CanteroThe Supernatural Enhancements by Edgar Cantero
Published by Doubleday on August 12th 2014
Pages: 368
Genres: Fantasy, Gothic, Horror, Mystery
Format: eARC
Source: Netgalley
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository
Goodreads

two-stars

A mesmerizing novel...what begins as a gothic ghost story soon evolves into a wickedly twisted treasure hunt in The Supernatural Enhancements, Edgar Cantero's wholly original, modern-day adventure.

When twentysomething A., the European relative of the Wells family, inherits a beautiful, yet eerie, estate set deep in the woods of Point Bless, Virginia, it comes as a surprise to everyone—including A. himself. After all, he never knew he had a "second cousin, twice removed" in America, much less that his eccentric relative had recently committed suicide by jumping out of the third floor bedroom window—at the same age and in the same way as his father had before him . . .

Together with A.’s companion, Niamh, a mute teenage punk girl from Ireland, they arrive in Virginia and quickly come to feel as if they have inherited much more than just a rambling home and an opulent lifestyle. Axton House is haunted... they know it...but the presence of a ghost is just the first of a series of disturbing secrets they slowly uncover. What led to the suicides? What became of the Axton House butler who fled shortly after his master died? What lurks in the garden maze – and what does the basement vault keep? Even more troubling, what of the rumors in town about a mysterious yearly gathering at Axton House on the night of the winter solstice?

Told vividly through a series of journal entries, cryptic ciphers, recovered security footage, and letters to a distant Aunt Liza, Edgar Cantero has written an absorbing, kinetic and highly original supernatural adventure with classic horror elements that introduces readers to a deviously sly and powerful new voice.


‘…all those pathetic lonely people fooling one another into their clumsy games of afterlife and cosmic relevance just to avoid noticing the nauseating sadness of their real lives. How could it sink that low?
That’s how I used to feel, bound by reason to boredom.
And then along came Axton House.’

The main character, known only as “A.” inherits Axton House, a mansion in American, after a second-cousin twice removed by the name of Ambrose Wells commits suicide by throwing himself from his bedroom window. Strangely enough, Ambrose’s father died the same way. At the same age. A. travels to America to get his affairs in order and with him comes Niamh, a mute teenager who communicates throughout the novel via notepad. The two soon immerse themselves in the mystery of the house which they find involves a secret society and many mysterious coded messages.

The Supernatural Enhancements is a Gothic mystery with a sole ghost and a strange sense of eclecticism. Unfortunately, it ranks right up there for me with The Quick in terms of absolute pointlessness. The story is told through various means including audio and video recordings, A’s day to day diary and a most disturbing dream journal, letters to an ‘Aunt Liza’, as well as various excerpts from books that they use in their research. It definitely had a Night Film feel regarding the unique way of telling the story but the story itself bounced around far too much and left far too much confusion in its wake. The strange codes that the two must unravel in order to progress further in solving the mystery should have been fun but instead I found them to be a tedious addition since us as readers had little to no chance of solving them ourselves so the pages and pages of detail regarding how they solved it only resulted in causing me a headache of epic proportions.

The characters themselves were mysterious and quirky but not in the most appealing way. We’re given very little detail on the two (other than the fact that they’re X-File fans which should have caused me to like them on that principle alone, but no) or anything about A. (or why he’s only referred to as A. because that’s just weird) or Niamh and their strange relationship; only that Niamh likes A. but she’s underage so it’s pointless. Or so we’re led to believe. The two sleep in a bed described as “big enough for each of us to throw an orgy without her guests disturbing mine”. And she apparently sleeps there because she’s there to protect him, which makes total sense.

Actually, it never ends up making sense. None of it does. The characters don’t make sense nor their purpose, the bad guys, or this secret society. The mysteries are seemingly explained but in a quick and careless way that is meant to be quirky and interesting but left much to be desired. The Supernatural Enhancements had a promising initial feel that, as Rory put, felt like “a lighthearted, simpler cousin” to The House of Leaves — just minus the use of mirrors. It regrettably fell flat for me.

House of Leaves by Mark Z. Danielewski {Purchase – My Review}
Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan {Purchase}

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Early Review – The Quick: A Novel by Lauren Owen

May 22, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Early Review, Read in 2014 6 Comments

I received this book free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Early Review – The Quick: A Novel by Lauren OwenThe Quick: A Novel by Lauren Owen
Published by Random House on June 17th 2014
Pages: 544
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Amazon
Goodreads

one-star

An astonishing debut, a novel of epic scope and suspense that conjures up all the magic and menace of Victorian London
 
London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.

London, 1892: James Norbury, a shy would-be poet newly down from Oxford, finds lodging with a charming young aristocrat. Through this new friendship, he is introduced to the drawing-rooms of high society, and finds love in an unexpected quarter. Then, suddenly, he vanishes without a trace. Unnerved, his sister, Charlotte, sets out from their crumbling country estate determined to find him. In the sinister, labyrinthine city that greets her, she uncovers a secret world at the margins populated by unforgettable characters: a female rope walker turned vigilante, a street urchin with a deadly secret, and the chilling “Doctor Knife.” But the answer to her brother’s disappearance ultimately lies within the doors of one of the country’s preeminent and mysterious institutions: The Aegolius Club, whose members include the most ambitious, and most dangerous, men in England.

In her first novel, Lauren Owen has created a fantastical world that is both beguiling and terrifying. The Quick will establish her as one of fiction’s most dazzling talents.

There has been much hush-hush about the true reality of this novel but I think hiding this does it an injustice. The true genre of this story is the supposed ‘twist’ and it’s not much of a twist in all actuality. For those who wish to be kept in the dark, stop reading. Bottom line: The Quick is nothing more than an attempt to combine the enthralling historical fiction aspects of Sarah Waters’ writing and the Gothic mystery of a classic Anne Rice novel. Suffice it to say it was a failed attempt.

The main issue with The Quick is the pacing. The beginning part of the novel introduces the main character James and his sister Charlotte who separate when James moves to London to complete his schooling. James spends his time writing poetry and plays, falls in love and tragedy soon follows. I enjoyed this part of the novel and even the ‘twist’ but instead of cashing in on this heightened intrigue due to the shocking nature of what occurred, the author instead switches gears and changes to a completely new characters point-of-view.

The introduction of the new character, Augustus Mould, also brings a new writing style: epistolary. Normally I adore anything epistolary, however, this was not only dull but tedious and encompassed far too many pages. Once we return to James’ story and point-of-view I had officially lost any and all interest in what had happened to him. What follows is the introduction of several other characters that lacked a much needed differentiation but certainly wasn’t lacking in excessive detail or back story. Much of what we’re given in this novel regarding the back stories of individuals and the tedious details of their lives felt like a ridiculous amount of inconsequential filler by the time I had turned the final page.

Inevitably, this is indistinguishable from the mass of books that share genres. The attempt to create a mysterious element and keep the true genre secret did not make this novel surprising and did not make the ponderous pages that followed any more palatable.

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Waiting on Wednesday – Maplecroft (The Borden Dispatches #1) by Cherie Priest

May 7, 2014 Bonnie Waiting on Wednesday 4 Comments

Waiting on Wednesday – Maplecroft (The Borden Dispatches #1) by Cherie PriestMaplecroft by Cherie Priest
Series: The Borden Dispatches #1
Published by Roc Trade on September 2nd 2014
Pages: 448
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction, Horror
Format: Paperback
Amazon
Goodreads

Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother forty whacks; and when she saw what she had done, she gave her father forty-one....

The people of Fall River, Massachusetts, fear me. Perhaps rightfully so. I remain a suspect in the brutal deaths of my father and his second wife despite the verdict of innocence at my trial. With our inheritance, my sister, Emma, and I have taken up residence in Maplecroft, a mansion near the sea and far from gossip and scrutiny.

But it is not far enough from the affliction that possessed my parents. Their characters, their very souls, were consumed from within by something that left malevolent entities in their place. It originates from the ocean’s depths, plaguing the populace with tides of nightmares and madness.

This evil cannot hide from me. No matter what guise it assumes, I will be waiting for it. With an axe.

About Cherie Priest

CHERIE PRIEST is the author of twelve novels, including the steampunk pulp adventures Dreadnought and Boneshaker. Boneshaker was nominated for both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award; it was a PNBA Award winner, and winner of the Locus Award for Best Science Fiction Novel. Cherie also wrote Fathom and the Eden Moore series from Tor (Macmillan), and her novellas Clementine, Dreadful Skin and Those Who Went Remain There Still are published by Subterranean Press. In addition to all of the above, she is a newly minted member of the Wild Cards Consortium – and her first foray into George R. R. Martin’s superhero universe, Fort Freak (for which she wrote the frame story), will debut in 2011. Cherie’s short stories and nonfiction articles have appeared in such fine publications as Weird Tales, Subterranean Magazine, Publishers Weekly, and the Stoker-nominated anthology Aegri Somnia from Apex. Though she spent most of her life in the southeast, she presently lives in Seattle, Washington, with her husband and a fat black cat.

I’ve heard this authors Steampunk books are fantastic but I haven’t read them because Steampunk isn’t really my thing. Now Maplecroft, is totally my thing. I’ve been trying to avoid new series (because there’s too damn many) but I’m willing to make an exception for this, definitely.

What are you waiting on this Wednesday? Leave me a link to your post and I’ll be sure to stop by!

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine

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Book Review – The House at Riverton by Kate Morton

May 1, 2014 Bonnie Adult, Book Reviews, Read in 2014 3 Comments

Book Review – The House at Riverton by Kate MortonThe House at Riverton by Kate Morton
Published by Atria Books on April 22nd 2008
Pages: 480
Genres: Gothic, Historical Fiction, Mystery
Format: Hardcover
Source: Purchased
Amazon
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Also by this author: The Secret Keeper, The Clockmaker's Daughter

three-half-stars

The House at Riverton is a sweeping debut novel set in England between the wars. It is the story of an aristocratic family, a house, a mysterious death and a vanishing way of life, told by a woman who witnessed it all and kept a secret for a lifetime.

Grace Bradley went to work at Riverton House as a servant when she was just a girl, before the First World War. For years her life was inextricably tied up with the Hartford family, most particularly the two daughters, Hannah and Emmeline.

In the summer of 1924, at a glittering society party held at the House, a young poet shot himself. The only witnesses were Hannah and Emmeline, and only they—and Grace—know the truth.

The novel opens in 1999 when Grace is ninety-eight years old, living out her last days in a nursing home. She is visited by a young director who is making a film bout the events of that summer in 1924. She takes Grace back to Riverton House and reawakens her memories. Told in flashback, this is the story of Grace's youth suring the last days of Edwardian aristocratic privilege shattered by war, of the vibrant 1920s and of the changes she witnessed as an entire way of life vanished forever.

The novel is full of secrets—some revealed, others hidden forever, reminiscent of the romantic suspense of Daphne du Maurier. It is also a meditation on memory, the devastation of war and a beautifully rendered window into a fascinating time in history.

Originally published to critical acclaim in Australia, already sold in ten countries and a #1 bestseller in England, The House at Riverton is a page-turning novel of suspense and passion, with characters—and an ending—the reader won't soon forget.

‘…history is a faithless teller whose cruel recourse to hindsight makes fools of its actors.’

The House of Riverton tells the tale of Grace Bradley who began working as a housemaid for the Hartford family at Riverton in 1915 during the first World War. Her life became inextricably linked to the house and its inhabitants; a link that would last a lifetime. Flash forward, Grace Bradley is 98 years old and living out her final days in a nursing home yet still holding tightly to the secrets she’s kept for many decades. Grace is approached by a young filmmaker who is making a movie about the tragic summer of 1924, when Robbie Hunter committed suicide, and nothing which followed was ever the same.

The story spans a vast time period beginning in 1915 when World War I is underway, to the 1920’s which completely redefined social and cultural customs and all the way to the late 90’s where we’re able to see just how much one tragic even can haunt someone forever. Kate Morton skillfully brings this time period and her characters to life. The impact of the war on the household was authentic feeling and especially well done. The one other novel of hers I’ve read, The Secret Keeper, is an absolute favorite of mine. Having read this one now I can definitely tell that this is her debut novel as it lacks the polished feel of The Secret Keeper. The House at Riverton is still a well-written and vibrant story with a cast of interesting characters although I found the mystery itself to be a bit disheveled.

The book summary makes it seem as if the story is centered around the mystery of a poet who committed suicide at Riverton in 1924, however, it took an endless amount of time to actually get to that point. The poet, Robbie Hunter, was a young man that Hannah and Emmeline met in 1915. He was a friend of their brother David and the two ended up going to war together. Their introduction is brief at the beginning of the book yet Robbie does not reappear again until close to the very end. The story had been following a steady path up until his reappearance and it not only threw a wrench in the story but made everything that followed feel contrived and artificial.

There is also an additional side mystery involving the narrator, Grace, and how her mother had worked at Riverton when she was younger. Her mother dies and takes her secrets with her and Grace slowly uncovers them throughout the novel. This, unfortunately, could have been interesting but felt ultimately unnecessary and not only detracted from the main mystery but extended the book needlessly. It was a separate mystery entirely from that of Robbie Hunter and I felt as if there was a similarity between Grace’s and Hannah’s secret that it would have been a better fit for the story as a whole.

The House of Riverton is an entertaining historical fiction debut that is chock-full of secrets waiting to be uncovered. It’s reminiscent of Atonement with a slight Downton Abbey feel and will be pleasing for fans of both.

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